Shane van Gisbergen was devastated to have a puncture ruin his Bathurst 1000 chances but says he’s more gutted he cannot celebrate his season success with friends and family.
The 2021 Supercars champion is stuck in Australia until at least January 17, when fully vaccinated Kiwis can return home without needing MIQ.
Until then, van Gisbergen either needs to secure a limited MIQ spot to come home or have his family come to Australia and incur similar challenges.
“I wish my family was here and all my friends as well,” van Gisbergen said.
“I wish I could go home to celebrate, but I’ve been locked out of my own country which sucks.”
Border and managed isolation issues were what scrapped the Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway wildcard entry weeks before the race.
Van Gisbergen still had reasons to celebrate after a gruelling Bathurst. He was officially crowned this year’s Supercars champion and awarded the title trophy.
But he says it’s disappointing he couldn’t conclude his dominant year with a successful Bathurst defence.
“Bittersweet,” he said. “I was really trying to win that race.
“Congrats to Chaz and Lee and the team, they were super fast and gave it everything, but we just couldn’t quite hold it together.”
Last year’s Bathurst 1000 was off-limits to spectators for Covid-19 protocol reasons. The Kiwi says the return of the passionate crowd made the race more enjoyable.
“It was awesome to race here and have all the fans back. The atmosphere here was awesome. I loved every minute.”
As for why the tyre gave way with under ten laps remaining, Red Bull says it resulted from a gamble that didn’t pay off.
“We didn’t have the quickest car,” Red Bull team manager Mark Dutton said.
“We wanted to keep the pressure on, and we were prepared to keep the pressure on at the risk of [a puncture].
“You make your choices and accept the consequences.”
Van Gisbergen was classified as finishing 18th, his lowest Bathurst result since 2010.